Post # 1
I could use a little perspective. My FH and I just came back from our second premarital counseling sesh, and he told me he would feel very uncomfortable going into marriage without a prenup. We had talked about them in abstract terms, but the last time we discussed it (several months ago) he told me he wasn’t sure but would like us to look into it. I was a bit blindsided.
Some backstory: I am a poor graduate student with lower middle class parents, and he is a software engineer who makes more than I ever will. On top of that, his family has real estate holdings and they do quite well from which he gets a check every month and will inherit half when his father passes away. This power dynamic has always haunted me as I live in the house he owns and pay a little every month (well below market value for renting), and he convinced me I didn’t need to work super shitty part time jobs while in school and to just focus on finishing my degree. I just graduated on Saturday and have a part time job lined up that is a great start for my career, but doesn’t pay a living wage. I also drive part time for Lyft in one of his father’s cars. I always thought of this set up as we were investing in our future together, as someday I would earn much more with my education then I ever would without it.
To make it clear, I don’t want his money. I have never wanted his money. Taking loans, owing people, long term financial commitments have always made me super uncomfortable and I avoid them at all cost. Even if he cheated on me and killed my dog and set my car on fire, I would just want him out of my life as quickly as possible and to never see him again. There is no part of me that would want to spend time in court taking his stuff. That being said, a prenup should be no big deal.
But as we talked about it I started feeling shittier and shittier, and now here at home I am pretty upset and kind of feel like crying. It just feels like I’m putting all my eggs in this marriage basket, making myself as vulnerable as I will ever be to someone, and he’s hedging his bets. It feels like abandonment, and like I should be looking out for my own interests rather than focusing on building this partnership together. It makes me feel stupid for even thinking in terms of our long-term, team future. It makes me want to start applying to bartending jobs, because at least I could support myself short term even if I wasn’t progressing in terms of a career. It feels like such a slap in the face.
I didn’t expect to feel like this even if he did ask for one, but I do and I’m not sure how to handle it.
Post # 2
marydbee : I’d only agree to a pre-nup if it protected me, and was about stuff like if one is unfaithful the other gets everything
Post # 3
A prenup is not necessarily a bad thing as it sets things out in advance. Focus on the terms re: providing for your future kids, if any, should the relationship not last.
Note, it is standard for the person with assets to protect to pay for an attorney to represent the person without assets to protect. He should be willing to do so as the prenup is often void if the counter party is not adequately represented.
Post # 4
- Wedding: May 2019 - City, State
I don’t think him wanting a pre-nup is any statement on your relationship on his part. If he was raised in money…that’s just part of how he thinks. Always draw everything up in a legal document in case of the worst. My sister’s partner comes from a very wealthy family, and his parents always draw up legal contracts for any exchange of money or property, no matter how small. It’s just how they are.
Him wanting a prenup means nothing about how much he trusts you or how much faith he has in your relationship. It has no bearing on whether he thinks you two will last forever or not. It also might not necessarily be his idea in the first place, it might just be something his parents have drilled into him that he needs.
This doesn’t mean that you’re more invested in your future than he is. People who were raised in money are often raised to feel they need to protect that money, even from family members. It doesn’t mean he loves you any less, I promise.
Post # 5
nykkee : not only is that a ridiculous stance, but it is unlikely to stand up in court.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2019 - City, State
A prenup is supposed to protect the interests of BOTH parties. So make sure you get appropriate legal counsel before you sign anything and you truly understand what you are signing as well as what you would legally be entitled to as his wife.
Post # 7
The pre-nup should protect both partners, not just the one with the assets. You need to have legal counsel in order for it to even be valid and you absolutely should be thinking practically about what you would be entitled to if your marriage were to dissolve- and now is the time to do it, before you get years down the road and resentment and history have clouded your thinking and ability to have forthright conversations about all of this.
Should you get any access to his family holdings? No. But you could be entitled to a portion of his income if things do not work out and a lawyer could help you navigate what would be fair.
Also- you should definitely have a job that is paying you if you feel that your current arrangement creates a power dynamic that makes you uncomfortable.
But you should also speak with your Fiance about all of this- how you feel, how his request makes you feel, your concerns about him hedging his bets and any other things that might come up.
I’m a big supporter of pre-nups, personally, but I think I would probably feel some type of way about it if I were in the situation you describe with your Fiance.
Post # 8
I love and trust my husband but wanted a prenup. I owned a home and had substantial savings going into the marriage where he had nothing and was just starting his career. Its a reality that it might not work out and it’s very mature to acknowledge that. Don’t feel shitty, you are working towards your future together and it sounds like he treats you as an “us”. I would suggest having a null date on the prenup like after 5 or 10 years or after you have children it’s void. Make sure it protects you too especially if you’re being put in a semi-dependent state. It’s probably a good idea and it speaks to the strength of your relationship if you can sort it out calmly. I know it can seem like a slap in the face but I really doubt it’s intended that way.
Post # 9
First of all, I totally understand where you’re coming from and why you’re upset.
That said, I don’t think you should see his asking for a prenup as him necessarily ‘protecting his assets from you’ if you were to split. I think he’s taking stock of what he and his family have worked for, and it’s more about him wanting to retain the assets than you supposedly wanting to take them.
It’s also could be just a procedural thing, something that’s prudent to do. I never expect my house to burn down, but I have smoke detectors anyways, cause that’s just what you do.
Post # 10
TwilightRarity : He could tell I was upset and I did try to talk to him about it, but I was so taken aback by my own feelings I wasn’t sure exactly what they were or where they were coming from. I did tell him I felt like he was trying to limit his vulnerability in our marriage while I didn’t even have the urge to do that. He said he was trying to limit his financial vulnerability, but not his emotional vulnerability, and that he wanted to be completely open with me.
I think I’m also upset because I feel like I’ve given a lot of things I didn’t necessarily want to. I didn’t want to change my name, but he wouldn’t even discuss our children having my last name, so I agreed to do it to share my future children’s names and I even published my Master’s thesis under my married name so I wouldn’t lose it. On the other hand, he is willing to move anywhere I get accepted with funding into a PhD program, and like I said, provides a LOT of financial support while I try to get a career off the ground. The power dynamic bothers me. It always has, and maybe it always will. He knows that too and we have talked about it at length.
I don’t know. All I can really tell is that I’m upset, even though it DOES make sense intellectually. It just feels ick.
Post # 11
Can a prenup do something like, “in the event of infidelity/suspected infidelity by the husband, wife will receive house, 30% of moneys (or some specified amount like 100k) &/or alimony???”
I dooo think you’re in a bit of a shitty situation, but if you were at least protected that much, ud have a fair landing pad to start from, God forbid your marriage ended.
Post # 12
I can understand how you’re feeling. I was in a sort of similar situation—graduate student with software engineer—but without the additional family dynamic: we’re both from middle-class families. Since we actually had similar assets, we didn’t get a pre-nup even though he was making way more money than me and always will.
I think the important thing is to focus on the family aspect, and make sure the pre-nup protects only that. E.g., it would be reasonable to say that you have no access to his family’s real estate in the case of a divorce. But you can make sure that it *doesn’t* separate regular earned income into yours and his, and maybe even that it explicitly acknowledges that regular salaries are joint assets and would be divided accordingly.
Post # 13
marydbee : I think it was a bit shitty of him to purposely bring it up in counselling without giving you a heads up. That seems very calculated to me and I’d feel like you do now. It would bring up a lot of questions as to how someone truly sees me. Why are you going to counselling? Do you guys have bigger issues that have played into this whole financial issue?
I’m not against a prenup at all. I come from a family with considerable wealth and a future with a large inheritance. I understand your fiancé’s desire to keep his family inheritance for direct descendants because its not really wealth either of you has contributed to directly and usually family inheritance is about keeping it going for the next generation so you are really only a temporary custodian of the inheritance. To dilute it in the case of divorce wouldn’t sit well with me either because it really isn’t mine to dilute and I would feel its taking away from future generations.
The money he receives monthly from the estate/Trust however goes to your life together and can be used to build combined wealth. A partnership isn’t about who contributes the most financially because contributions encompass more than just money so to divide assets up in the event of a breakup based solely and in favour of financial contribution seems wrong. For example when we purchased our first house the majority of the down payment came from me but we did a renovation and my husband put a lot of blood sweat and tears into the renovation. If it wasn’t for him our house would not have been so lovely and our reno would of cost more because I would personally have to get trades to do the work. My point is that people contribute to a relationship in different ways. It would be remiss of me in the event if a break up to say I contributed more financially so I get a bigger share of the division of our assets generated in our time together without acknowledging my husbands equally important but non financial contribution to the accumulation of wealth. Honestly are you actually upset over the prenup or are you upset that your fiance has a yours and mine attitude towards assets you will aquire together in the lifetime of your relationship? Does it feel like he doesn’t see or treat you as an equal contributor?
As I said I don’t see anything wrong with a prenup over assets that belong to an inheritance because I generally don’t see those as belonging to me but see myself as more of a custodian of it until future generations come along. I don’t feel I have a right to touch an inheritance from my husband either. I do however take objection to a prenup that tries to take a yours and mine approach to wealth and assests aquired during the course of a relationship.
You need to work out what you line in the sand is and work out whether you agree with your partners motivation behind a prenup is? Are they being fair or just greedy? Their approach and motivation would determine if I sign. If its greediness behind their stance, I’d say see you later to the relationship and obviously the prenup too. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone like that.
If you are OK with signing a prenup once you’ve thought this through with a bit less emotion then seek out a lawyer to help you keep it as equitable towards you. TBH though him bringing it up in counselling without giving you a heads up would not sit well with me and would have me question his motivation.
Post # 14
cmsgirl : I told him that I wish he hadn’t blindsided me like that, and he apologized. Said he had a feeling I would be upset and thought it was easier to broach in counseling. I agree it was crappy. We actually have very few issues day to day, we just wanted to try counseling out because some of our friends swear by it for their relationships.
I understand the inheritance thing, and I don’t think it’s greed on his part. He says it’s mostly for the short term, if things fall apart, he wants to make sure he’s “made whole.” Whatever that means. He says in the long term it won’t really mean anything because we will have amassed joint wealth. I need to do more research for sure, figure out what I will need if I’m going to agree to this. Thank you for the advice, it helps to know I’m not out of line for being upset.
Post # 15
I think your fears are coming from the fact that he acknowledges the possibility of the relationship failing. Prenups can be scary and perhaps he feels that his situation calls for one.
Be honest with him and tell him why you are actually upset. He probably isn’t as nervous about your relationship, he just needs to square this away.